There is no doubting the fact that local cricket has made giant strides over the past decade. Indeed, considering that the sport endures a low-profile in the local scene, the past 10 years have seen a remarkable number of firsts being achieved.
One of these milestones was arguably the admirable fact that four of local players were deemed good enough to play professional cricket in England, even though the ‘gentlemanly game’ was still evolving in the country.
It has to be noted with pride that these players who included Athuman Kakonzi and Khalil Rhemtullah were not just there to make up the numbers: They actually played an influential role in their teams’ success.
Two other historic achievements were recorded last year and they formed part of a narrative of the growth of local cricket.
The first was that the Tanzania under 21 women’s cricket team impressively finished second at the Africa T20 tournament.
Hot in the heels of this came the victory of the Tanzania Under 19 women’s cricket team at the African Cricket Association championship last year.
These two stellar successes emphatically announced to the continent that cricket in Tanzania was truly alive and kicking and on the path to greater things.
Having said this though, it has to be said that local cricket faces a number of key challenges this year.
For instance, next month the national men’s cricket team will take part in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa Division Two T20 championship in Johannesburg, South Africa.
And then, later this year in August in Malaysia, the same team will also participate in the world cricket Division Four league.
Indeed, these are important challenges which shall once again put the local cricket scene under the spotlight. It goes without saying that it is incumbent upon the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA) to meticulously prepare our boys so that they can successfully negotiate these challenges.
But wherever the chips may fall in the end, nothing can detract from the amazing growth and progress of cricket on the local scene over the past several years.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports